Earlier in the day President Barack Obama previewed the upcoming release of a Senate report into the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation after the attacks of September 11, 2001, saying “we tortured some folks.”
Speaking to representatives from different media sources from the briefing at White House, Mr Obama noted, “Even before I came into office, I was very clear that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 we did some things that were wrong. We crossed a line and that needs to be understood and accepted. We have to as a country take responsibility for that.”
The US president also condemned Hamas for “breaching a cease-fire with Israel” minutes after it went into effect Friday morning, assuring that the breach might have negative impacts in the process of setting the weeks-long conflict in Gaza.
He suggested that Hamas must release captured Israeli solider Hadar Goldin, who was captured on the Israel-Gaza border in a Friday morning attack that claimed lives of two other Israeli soldiers.
“If they are serious about resolving this situation, that soldier needs to be released unconditionally as soon as possible,” Obama said. He added that with the trust broken, “I think it’s going to be very hard to put a cease-fire back together again.”
“The Israelis are entirely right that these tunnel networks need to be dismantled,” Obama said. He went on, adding that Israelis should be pursuing ways to do so with fewer civilian casualties.
The head of state also defended CIA Director John Brennan, who found himself in the very middle of a scandal amid revelations that CIA staffers improperly accessed the files of the Senate investigators. “I have full confidence in John Brennan,” Obama said.
Obama praised Secretary of State John Kerry for his efforts in negotiating the cease-fire, saying he had been the subject of “unfair criticism” in recent weeks. He also said Israel must do more to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza.
“It’s hard to reconcile Israel’s need to defend itself with our concern for civilians in Gaza,” he said.
The American president also defended his handling of the crisis in Ukraine, saying the United States has done its best to support the Ukrainian government.
“Short of going to war, there are going to be some constraints in terms of what we can do,” he said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin should want to resolve the situation diplomatically, “but sometimes people don’t always act rationally.”
“In a strange display of one upmanship, deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin posted a picture on his Twitter account of President Vladimir Putinpetting a leopard next to one of Mr Obama holding a fluffy poodle, with the caption “we have different values and allies,” reports The Telegraph.
The post, which was meant as a dig at the US President’s unequal manly status, was retweeted more than 600 times in two hours.